The Cave-in-Rock Ferry that carries approximately 500 motorists across the Ohio River between Crittenden County and Illinois each day could be shutting down or altering its hours if a solution to new concerns isn’t found by the end of the month.
The U.S. Coast Guard has several new regulations that will increase the cost of operating the ferry, including the addition of an additional crew member. Required equipment upgrades will also be a financial burden to Lonnie Lewis, who says he will not operate the service at a loss.
The Cave-in-Rock Ferry connects KY Highway 91 in Crittenden County with IL Route 1 in Hardin County, Illinois. Kentucky and Illinois each provide about $400,000 a year for operation of the Ferry through a Ferry Authority operated by the Crittenden County Fiscal Court.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says approximately 30 Crittenden County residents work in adjoining counties in Illinois. It is estimated a similar number of Illinois residents work on the Kentucky side of the river and depend on the ferry to get to and from work.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Illinois Department of Transportation are working with Lewis, the Coast Guard, and other stakeholders to come up with a solution.